Hurricane-battered Haitians survive in caves

For much of the world, Haiti is known more as a crisis than a country. Dictators, corrupt officials and international meddling have competed with earthquakes and hurricanes to destabilize the country.

After the 2010 earthquake flattened the capital and its surroundings, the struggle to get hundreds of thousands of Haitians out of tent cities and back into homes defined the nation’s recovery.

Now after the recent hurricane, schools and hospitals are again overflowing with the displaced, people whose homes are so gutted that leaving them makes more sense than staying.

To many, the only sanctuary left after the storm is a cave. It is a holy place now, having saved hundreds of villagers during the worst of Hurricane Matthew, when nature tore their homes to the ground. It is still the only thing to protect them.

“It is our house that God created when we most needed it,” said Destine Jean, one of the villagers who first alerted the government of the closest town, Beaumont, to the people living in caves. “Without this cave, a lot of people would have died. This is the only shelter we have.”

Officials in Beaumont say there are at least six caves they know of like this one, sheltering a total of 550 people living amid the moss-colored alps of the country’s southwest.

[New York Times]

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